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IdleRich
23-11-2009, 05:11 PM
Anyone been following this?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/borders-uk-lines-up-accountancy-firm-for-potential-administration-1826354.html


The troubled book chain Borders UK is thought to have lined up BDO as administrator, if an eleventh hour rescue deal cannot be finalised.
The 45-store bookseller is still trying to find a buyer for the business, but is leaning towards putting the chain into administration – which is thought to be imminent and could come as early as tomorrow. Borders UK was sold in a management buy-out (MBO) deal backed by the retail restructuring specialist Hilco in July, but the retailer’s management is thought to be worried that it does not have enough cash to successfully trade through the festive trading period.
If it was put into administration, the timing of a potential stock liquidation sale would be beneficial in the run up to Christmas – although this was not the intention of Valco, Hilco’s investment arm, when it backed the MBO in July.
A Borders UK spokesman said: “Management continue to review all their options including a sale of the business.” He declined to comment on any other questions put to him.
A BDO spokeswoman said: “We have not yet been appointed so we are not in a position to comment.”
Difficult environment when even a large chain (admittedly one run by a moron who comes out with statements such as "I can guarantee a significant portion of our income will come from something we haven't yet identified" as reported in Private Eye this month) can't survive to sell books. When will it just be Amazon left?

sufi
23-11-2009, 09:15 PM
bastards should have let more people in when they had the chance...
http://www.porttechnology.org/images/articles/img_1203.jpg






oh, that ukborders, never mind

baboon2004
23-11-2009, 11:08 PM
"I can guarantee a significant portion of our income will come from something we haven't yet identified"

Really bad news, but that is a pretty awe-inspiring statement.

I guess it was a mistake to open a bookshop chain outside the confines of a supermarket. Sad.

craner
23-11-2009, 11:38 PM
Borders is shit: scruffy, unhappy staff, bad stock. Ot course it's failing. Good riddance. Waterstones is dead on its feet because of awful management decisions all dpwn the line, some of the worst made in the last year and a half. Ask any senior book buyers for WS and they'll tell you a gruesome story. A few contemporaries of mine at the Gower Street branch - until last year some of the only independant senior book buyers left in the chain - were made to reapply for their own jobs, and told their buying would now be centrally controlled. Now, they had a problem with budgets and dead stock (just look at their philosophy section!) but they were still pumping out good stuff for the captive Uni of London market. And those buyers had been doing their job with skill for years. They were pretty vexed.

The real sad event has been the death of Charing Cross Road, the epicentre of the Uk book trade, with some beautiful independant shops closing because of rent hikes. When Shipley's closed last Christmas Eve, with sherry and the roaring log fire a final farewell, the last nail hit the coffin.

Having said that, Foyles is going strong right now, despite the devastating loss of me. The only way for bookshops to survive is to nurture and pay well experienced and skilled book buyers and sellers: to import and order titles tailored to the people who come and buy stuff, ask for stuff. In Foyles, we'd build up stock by following our own interests and listening to what people asked for. If somebody asked me for a book once, and I thought it looked good and would sell (and that could even be a £50 monograph on occasion, but we were lucky like that) I'd order one for the customer and one for the shelf. If it sold, get another. If that sold, get 2, etc. You could build up obscure, site-specific bestsellers that way. Then word of mouth kicks in. Do that over the whole range, and you start turning profits. The frontline of bookselling is as important as CEO strategy or marketing depts, although enlightened high management can play a crucial role too.

The only strategy for big bookshops is decentralise, like Foyles. When I started there, the shop was close to meltdown. Now, after 50 years it's finally making profits for its loyal and long-suffering shareholders.

grizzleb
24-11-2009, 04:59 AM
Difficult for chains to compete next to amazon, and thats despite the fact that every time I'm in the Borders in glasgow it's always mobbed. Sad times, but even my dad buys shit off amazon these days.

don_quixote
24-11-2009, 07:40 AM
magazines were borders forté

grizzleb
24-11-2009, 08:17 AM
True. Never even had Cabinet magazine in stock either. Dicks.

IdleRich
24-11-2009, 02:59 PM
The only way for bookshops to survive is to nurture and pay well experienced and skilled book buyers and sellers: to import and order titles tailored to the people who come and buy stuff, ask for stuff. In Foyles, we'd build up stock by following our own interests and listening to what people asked for. If somebody asked me for a book once, and I thought it looked good and would sell (and that could even be a £50 monograph on occasion, but we were lucky like that) I'd order one for the customer and one for the shelf. If it sold, get another. If that sold, get 2, etc. You could build up obscure, site-specific bestsellers that way. Then word of mouth kicks in. Do that over the whole range, and you start turning profits. The frontline of bookselling is as important as CEO strategy or marketing depts, although enlightened high management can play a crucial role too.
The only book I ever heard Philip Downer get excited about, or even mention for that matter, is Harry Potter.


"although enlightened high management can play a crucial role too."
This was lacking at Borders too. Low pay meant very high staff turnover and the company changed hands several times in a relatively short amount of time. When Borders UK stopped being part of Borders US they had to separate their accounting systems and Borders UK cut corners on their new accounting software effectively buying one that wasn't fit for purpose. They then had to spend loads of money on contract workers and consultants and the like to try and make the thing work. This was also responsible for lost sales as companies who hadn't being paiid were refusing to deliver stock to them. This was before Borders had run out of money, it was just they were unable to work out how much they owed companies due to being unable to access and organise their financial data.

craner
24-11-2009, 07:59 PM
Ha ha, epic crapness!

IdleRich
24-11-2009, 08:53 PM
That's not the half of it.

Transpontine
24-11-2009, 09:21 PM
bastards should have let more people in when they had the chance... oh, that ukborders, never mind

Yes I too hoped that some through fluky side effect of the credit crunch the UK Border Agency had collapsed leaving abandoned detention centres in its wake, and letting migrant cleaners go about their daily business without the threat of being dragged out of work and locked up like murderers. Sad it's only the bookshop that's under threat.

In two minds about the bookshop, some dodgy business practices to be sure, but where else in Oxford Street (London-centric reference) sells that range of music and other zines.

craner
24-11-2009, 09:26 PM
The Oxford Street HMV is very good for music. Must say, Borders ran the magazines market. But no big shops make money selling magazines (don't know about newsagents), you actually lose money. We had a mag section in Foyles once, but swiftly closed it. It was dragging sales down, down, down. We were paying to sell magazines. If you want books, go to Foyles, or Gower Street.

scottdisco
24-11-2009, 09:28 PM
When Borders UK stopped being part of Borders US they had to separate their accounting systems and Borders UK cut corners on their new accounting software effectively buying one that wasn't fit for purpose. They then had to spend loads of money on contract workers and consultants and the like to try and make the thing work. This was also responsible for lost sales as companies who hadn't being paiid were refusing to deliver stock to them.

:mad:

Foyles has the piranha tank, too..

craner
24-11-2009, 09:28 PM
Mind you, no shop can match the epic fraud at management-level, and till-skimming at bookseller level, in Foyles up until 1999. This was when the shop was going bust, before Christina died, and slightly before my time.

scottdisco
24-11-2009, 09:32 PM
from the wiki on her, i must say, she had an impressive gang of pals.


Miss Foyle met many leading literary and political figures over her life. Her collection of personal correspondence included a letter from Adolf Hitler, responding to her complaint about Nazi book-burning. Her literary friends included Kingsley Amis, Charles de Gaulle, D. H. Lawrence, Yehudi Menuhin, J. B. Priestley, George Bernard Shaw, Margaret Thatcher, Evelyn Waugh and H. G. Wells.

craner
24-11-2009, 09:38 PM
She was High Tory.

craner
26-11-2009, 04:05 PM
Going, gone.

The staff at Foyles just found out about this today. I've been getting excitable texts for hours.

IdleRich
26-11-2009, 06:02 PM
Yep, looks as though it's all over

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/retailing/article6933787.ece

Mr. Tea
27-11-2009, 12:24 AM
Borders is shit: scruffy staff...

'Sfunny, Rich said the other day that you and he and never met...